Plus more news on status programs, earning bonuses, and new routes
Loyalty programs are ever-evolving with new promotions, rules, and redemption opportunities. It’s hard to keep on top of the latest news, but that’s why we round it up for you.
1. Hilton Honors gets a new name and redemption opportunities. In a major overhaul of its loyalty program, the Hilton family of hotels is changing the way travelers can earn and redeem their points. For starters, Hilton Honors points will soon be available for redemptions on Amazon.com, making points usable for practically anything for sale on the site. Travelers will also be able to pool points with as many as 10 family members or friends, which is great for people who don’t have enough points for that dream hotel stay. By combining points, all of a sudden, you do! A new system also gives travelers the choice to determine how much cash and how many points they want to use when staying at a hotel (instead of a predetermined number of points and cash). This is great news for Hilton Honors members looking to squeeze more value out of their points.
2. Bonus points are offered for spending at Hilton. If you have an American Express card, log into your account and check the Amex Offers section to register for a bonus points promotion. Between now and April 15, you can earn 3,500 Membership Rewards points for spending $250 on an eligible rate at any Hilton or Curio Collection property in the United States. Another offer from Hilton gives any member of Hilton Honors 2,000 bonus points per night for any stay before the end of April at a Hilton family property. Just be sure to register before checking in.
3. Delta elite-level fliers get a new Choice benefit. If you’re one of Delta’s top fliers with Platinum or Diamond Medallion status, there’s a new benefit coming your way when you qualify. The airline has added the option to pick three benefits for Diamond members with perks such as bonus miles, Sky Club membership, or the option to gift Medallion status to someone. Platinum members now get the chance to gift Medallion status, as well. In an age when airlines are often stripping away benefits, this is a nice extra for the airline’s top elite members.
4. American reduces mileage cost on select city pairs for credit cardholders. For bookings made between now and the end of March for flights in April and May, American has put numerous city pairs on sale for award redemptions. This means you can save between 1,000 and 7,500 miles per ticket. If you have one of several Citi AAdvantage or AAdvantage Aviator cards, you could be eligible for the mileage savings. The discount is not applied automatically, which is why the detailed redemption instructions online are important.
5. Flying Blue has discounted award tickets. The Flying Blue program from Air France and KLM has announced the latest round of discount redemptions. Even if you don’t participate in the Flying Blue program, you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to take advantage of these big discounts. Discounted flights include savings of up to 50 percent for flights between North America and Europe. One-way awards between Boston or Detroit and Europe go for 18,750 miles each way. Business class between San Francisco or Toronto and Europe goes for 46,875 miles each way.
6. Check newly announced international routes for mileage redemption. This summer, Star Alliance airlines are launching new flights that could be great for finding award seats. In July, Air India will begin nonstop flights between Washington Dulles and Delhi three times a week. LOT Polish is bringing back its nonstop flight between Chicago O’Hare and Krakow, Poland, aboard its Dreamliner aircraft this July. New flights between Warsaw and Newark and Los Angeles begin in April. Use Alaska or JetBlue miles to book a seat on Emirates’ new flight between Newark and Athens (it continues on to Dubai). Air Canada will fly between Toronto and Montreal to Reykjavík, Iceland, this summer, giving fliers yet another transatlantic option to redeem miles.
7. Earn points and celebrate Royal Hawaiian’s 90th anniversary. The famous Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection hotel on Waikiki Beach, is celebrating its 90th anniversary. In honor of the big event, the resort is launching a new bakery, creating three types of designer shoes from Paul Mayer to purchase in its signature pink color, and launching a promotion that includes resort credits and a tin that can be stuffed with as many tasty treats from the bakery as will fit. Make reservations online using code ROYAL90, and be sure to register for the Take Two promotion to earn double points between now and April 15.